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Livid Residents Fed Up With Lack Of Snow Removal In Suffolk County

Plows Are Out, But Are Dealing With 2 Feet Of Compacted Snow On Top Of Ice
(credit: CBS 2)

(credit: CBS 2)

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HUNTINGTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Residents are losing patience on Long Island as they continue to wait for plows to hit snow-covered side roads days after a massive winter storm.

While all lanes of the Long Island Expressway finally reopened Monday morning, many local roads in Suffolk County were still covered with thick sheets of snow and ice later in the day.

“Very slick, very icy,” said driver Shevrado Brown. “Not a good day to be out.”

State and local officials said they’re working as fast as possible to clear the streets, but after three days, frustrations are growing. Homeowners told CBS 2′s Jennifer McLogan they felt forgotten in their own driveways.

“We are taxpayers here in the Town of Islip. We pay a lot of taxes, so I don’t understand why we are not being taken care of. We have not been plowed at all,” Holbrook homeowner Bonnie Mulieri said.

“The residents are angry. We are doing the best we can. This stuff is so heavy, came down so fast. People were driving that shouldn’t have been on the roads,” said Islip plow driver Eddie Oehler. “Like you see, we are still out here, doing our job.”

“The town is supposed to here,” said Mike Gallo of Coram. “The taxpayers pay and not a plow in sight. It’s terrible.”

In Brookhaven, a stretch of Route 347 was littered with abandoned cars.

“I don’t know what they’re going to do with all these cars that are stranded and the town’s not coming to plow them out,” said a man named Jimmy, whose car was also stuck.

Officials said the conditions were also making it hard to do their jobs.

“Everybody needs heavy equipment. I’ve been on the phone with both county executives, with New York Sanitation. I had had Mike Bloomberg’s trucks here yesterday helping out, MTA Bridges and Tunnel trucks, because the need is here,” Brookhaven Deputy Town Supervisor Daniel Panico said.

“It’s tough for us to get through, half the streets are blocked, cars abandoned in the streets. There’s a layer of ice, so it’s tough for trucks and ambulances to get through,” said Yaphank Fire Department Chief Chris Austin.

“Our neighborhood is under siege. This is ridiculous. Three days. We have used our own snow blowers to get ourselves in and out of here,” said Evelyn Rodriguez of Brookhaven.

Residential roads remained snow- and ice-covered in portions of Brookhaven, Huntington, Smithtown and Islip.

The storm began as sleet and then turned into two feet of heavy snow buried on top of ice, and on Monday rain uncovered the threatening conditions. It was too much for even huge front end loaders.

“Completely stuck. They can’t get out. Totally buried in here,” Town of Islip worker Jeff Syrop said.

“This is a nightmare. It is a disaster. There is no way to get to my street. Nothing has been plowed and what has been plowed has turned to ice,” Islip homeowner Mark Donato said.

With McLogan aboard, CBS 2’s Mobile 2 traveled treacherous Suffolk County roads and witnessed cars unable to maneuver through neighborhood streets, where 30 inches of snow fell. Over the weekend, CBS 2’s Chris Wragge showed everyone the ravaged Long Island Expressway, where 175 people had to be rescued from their cars.

In Rocky Point, James Cameron was shoveling not the driveway, but his entire hilly street on Monday.

“Keep this from icing down anymore than what it is cause it’s gonna get worse later,” he told WCBS 880 reporter Alex Silverman.

He said someone has to, especially after what happened the night of the storm when his neighbor with a heart condition had to get to the hospital.

“Had to get eight firemen to physically carry her out on a stretcher about two blocks to an ambulance,” he said.

Cameron, who is an emergency room nurse, said he helped, but he was still stuck on Monday.

“Thirty-eight years, that was the first time that I’ve ever not been able to get in during the storm,” he said.

All this snow and now heavy rain is contributed to at least two roof collapse in Suffolk County and it has Smithtown building director John Bongino advising homeowners on what to look for.

“I would just be checking outside of the house for anything, any cracking, any movement of their houses, items like that,” he told WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs.

Anyone with a flat roof would be especially vulnerable to roof collapse.

He said to make sure gutters and drains are functioning properly.

“Make sure the feeder line drains are clear so that water can then go down and go into the dry wells,” he said.

As long as everything is draining properly, he said your roof should be ok.

Parts of Suffolk County were hit with more than 30 inches of snow during the blizzard. Governor Andrew Cuomo said more than 500 pieces of extra equipment were brought in over the weekend to help clear snow and ice from the roads.

Suffolk County has set up a hotline to help drivers who were forced to abandon their cars during the snowstorm. Motorists can call 631-775-2001 for information on the location of their vehicles.

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